Conflict & Justice

Egypt police: Shoot to kill... and get a bonus?


An Egyptian protester flashes the V-sign for victory during clashes with riot police along a road which leads to the Interior Ministry, near Tahrir Square, in Cairo on November 23, 2011.



Following months of sporadic but violent clashes between Egyptian protestors and security forces, activists are bracing for demonstrations on the one-year anniversary of the start of a popular uprising on Jan. 25. This week, rights advocates say Egypt's interior ministry announced an alarming shoot-to-kill policy for police -- and that comes with a reward.

Interior Minister, General Mohamed Ibrahim, said on Jan. 1, 2012 that he will reward any officer who shoots and kills a thug, if the thug initiates gunfire. Egypt's military-run government and state-run television both often use the word "thug" to refer to anti-regime protestors in Cairo's Tahrir Square. 

From the press release of the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR), one of the premier rights groups here:  

The EIPR declared that the new minister’s policies violate all laws and regulations, both Egyptian and international, and has demanded that the Minister immediately retract his faulty policy and replace it with reasonable and legal policies for regulating police work.

Police and army soldiers have already shown little restraint when dispersing protests in and around Cairo's iconic Tahrir Square. The use of tear gas, rubber bullets, and live ammunition by security forces in recent months has left over 50 protestors dead, and videos of the abuse shocked the world.  

Some demonstrators also throw rocks and Molotov cocktails at police and army, which could be used to activate the new shoot-to-kill policy. 

But many protestors say the military-run transitional government is uninterested in punishing either army or police for abuses against protestors. 

Activists say they are planning mass demonstrations on Jan. 25, 2012 to commemorate the start of the uprising that toppled decades-long dictator, Hosni Mubarak.  

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